How to Turn Down Hot Water Heater

Many home owners don’t realize the benefits of turning down the temperature on their hot water heater. Due to the fact that water heating is responsible for a large percentage of energy use in the United States, turning down the temperature on your hot water heater can actually reduce monthly energy bills.

Cooling it Down

Running the average electric water heater will cost homeowners $415 a year or more. By turning your water heater down to 120 degrees, you can save 6% to 10% a year. Ultimately, this can save at least $25 or more each year, just by lowering the water heater temperature.

In order to actually turn down your water heater you will need to look for a control dial along the outside for gas heaters. Electric heaters will generally have two dials to control the water heating. Both dials are typically set for the same temperature. For electric heaters, you will need to maintain the same temperature on both dials. If your heater has copper plates covering the dials and the temperature gauges, be sure to remove these before attempting to change the temperature. Turn the dial towards warm, which is usually towards the left, and wait a day before testing the dial again. When your preferred setting has been reached, mark the temperature on your dial so you can refer to it again in the future.

Things to Consider

When you turn your hot water heater to 120 degrees, this leaves room for bacteria to grow in your heater. Such organisms include Legionella, which lead to a nasty disease. Typically, these bacterias cannot survive at 140 degrees or more, but if your water heater is set to 120 degrees, they might start to grow. Individuals that have compromised immune systems are more at risk for getting sick from these waterborne bacterias, so do your research and consult a doctor before decreasing the temperature on your water heater.

If you are looking to save a little more money, consider adding more insulation to your water heater. This can save $30 or more a year. Additionally, you may want to purchase a new water heater from Energy Star, as these systems are tankless and can save more than $100 a year.

Turning down the hot water in your heater can be a efficient way to save more money around the house. Whatever decision you make regarding your water heater, be sure you are making the right decision for your home and family.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Hot Water Heater Damage

Many homeowners mistakenly believe that hot water heater damage is covered by their homeowners insurance. This, however is not the case. To properly understand what your insurance covers, be sure to do your research and purchase additional insurance. In reality, there are only a few situations when plumbing systems may be repaired or replaced in the event of damage.

Replacing Water Heaters

Out of the few instances that will allow for the repair or replacement of a hot water heater, the homeowner must experience widespread destruction throughout the home. One of these instances includes a fire that destroys the entire house and requires the entire home to be rebuilt. Additionally, if a vehicle crashes into your home and destroys the plumbing system, homeowner’s insurance will cover the expenses. Damages to water heaters caused by natural disasters like hail, lightening, wind damage, house fires or the like are typically covered under homeowner’s policies.

Ongoing maintenance problems like failing water heaters, failing supply lines and leaky faucets should be maintained consistently and in great working condition in general. The homeowner must take care of this responsibility and ensure that the plumbing system is not at risk due to improper maintenance.

Analyzing the Damage

In the event that your plumbing system or water heater malfunctions, spills or otherwise causes damage to your home, the homeowner’s or landlord’s policy should generally cover the cost of the damages. In order to confirm this, one should review the details of the policy coverage as some policies only cover partial damages. If coverage does apply, the policy deductible should be applicable to the reimbursement claim for damage repairs.

Warranties and More

Typically, water heaters have a warranty period guaranteed by the manufacturer. These types of warranties are anywhere from three to six years, or even ten years long. However, most warranties are limited to very specific conditions and should be read in detail.

You may need to replace your water heater if you notice rusting, water stains around the base or intermittent hot water. Typically water heaters only last up to 10 years and will need to be replaced after that. The best time to search for a replacement for your water heater is when you have the leisure to shop around for the best price. This means that you’ll want to start looking around before your hot water heater reaches its 10 year anniversary, as you want to avoid having to replace your water heater in an emergency situation.

Hot Water Heater Noises Banging

There are few noises more creepy coming from the basement than the banging of a hot water heater. This can be scary to children and frustrating for adults as they struggle to find out what the problem is A lot of homeowners wonder if they will need to replace the unit to get the noises to stop. While that is an expensive option, there is actually a much more simple fix to this common but annoying problem.

Sediment

The problem with your hot water heater is that you have sediment that has built up in the bottom of the tank. This is normal and common in hot water heaters. What happens to cause the noise is that the burner heats the sediment, causing moisture to turn into steam that will burst into the water above. The rumbling is caused when the steam from the sediment hits the water.

Cleaning out the Sediment

Taking care of the sediment is fairly straightforward. First turn the gas control to the pilot setting to keep it from being a larger flame while you are working. Your next step is to turn off the cold-water going into the heater so that you’re only working with the water that’s in the tank. Using a sink nearby, open the hot water tap and have it running, then open the drain valve in your hot water heater. It’s a good idea to attach a garden hose when you do this so you can control where the water goes as it drains out of the unit. You will let all of the water run out of the unit as long as it is murky with sediment. When it begins to run clear you will need to shut the valve.

Shutting the Valve

This can be a tricky part of the process, depending on corrosion and how much sediment there was in the heater. You may need to clean the corrosion off to be able to close the valve or use a hose cap to attach to the valve.

Refilling the Heater

Now you will need to refill your tank by opening back up the cold-water supply. Leave the hot water running, and wait until water flows freely. Then simply close it and turn the unit from “pilot” to “on”.

Don’t be alarmed if your hot water heater is making a banging noise. The sediment in the unit causes this annoying sound but can also eventually weaken the tank causing leaks. When you hear this noise be prepared to clean out your tank so that the water heater doesn’t overheat and cause future problems.

Hot Water Heater Anode Smell

Water heaters are an integral part of our homes, and you should rectify any problems that arise. However, one of the most reported problems is a foul smell coming from the heater. The smell is close to that of rotten eggs, and it can be very uncomfortable. The predicament that needs resolving or you can diagnose it yourself. In this guide, we explore the options you can use to diagnose and troubleshoot a water heater with a foul smell coming from the anode.

Troubleshooting the Odor

Many of the water heaters in circulation today comprise of a steel tank, and a glass lining. They also have an anode rod in the reservoir that prevents the tank from corroding. Instead, the rod corrodes making the tank safe for use for a long time. Some places will have smelly water especially if your supply of from the municipal water department. Due to a high level of sulfur in the water, hot and cold water will have a pungent smell, and it gets worse with time. You will only notice the smell in hot water and not in the cold water.

The anode protects the steel from corrosion, but it increases the generation of hydrogen from the steel tank. The hydrogen fuses with the sulfur in the water to form the smelly hydrogen sulfide gas in the water reservoir. The standard procedure is to replace the standard manufacturer’s aluminum or magnesium anode with an aluminum/zinc anode given that the water has not been with a softener. This type of anode reduces the amount of H2S. However, aluminum is a health hazard so refrain from using the hot water for cooking or drinking.

How to Make It Worse

Softening the water.
If you have hard water, the use of water softeners increases the water’s conductivity in the water heater and enhances the rate of corrosion on the installed anode. Water softeners will lead to you having smelly water.

Lack of use of the water heater.
Water heaters that are hardly used create a conducive environment for the buildup of the hydrogen sulfide gas in the water tank. When you use the water for the first time, your water will smell like rotten eggs. Here are ways you can use to get rid of the smell from your water heater.

Change your Anode

As stated above, replacing the anode with an aluminum/zinc anode will reduce the generation of hydrogen gas in the water heater tank. However, for a more lasting solution, use a powered anode and statistics show that it has a 99.75% success rate. A certified professional plumber best handles this work.

Use Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2)

Hydrogen peroxide is a sure way to combat the hydrogen sulfide gas. The regular 3% hydrogen peroxide is available from any drug store for less than a $1. Use one cup to every ten gallons of water to combat the gas. Here is the procedure of sanitizing your water heater.

• Turn off the manual switch on the electric water heater or if you have a gas heater, turn down the control on the Pilot but do not turn it off completely, then close the cold-water inlet valve.
• Open one hot water tap and the temperature and pressure valve to relieve the pressure from the tank.
• Drain enough water to accommodate the hydrogen peroxide and remove the T&P valve, water heater outlet, and the anode. Add enough hydrogen peroxide equivalent to the capacity of water in your heater through the water heater outlet.
• Reconnect the water heater’s cold-water inlet pipe and open the valve to fill the tank. Leave the water to sit in the tank for at least 2 hours. The hydrogen peroxide degenerates into oxygen gas and water, so it is safe. However, open all the hot water taps in your home and let the hot water to run off while ensuring that you have shut off the cold-water inlet valve.
• After the tank is empty, then re-open the cold-water valve and fill the tank. Leave the water to sit for at least 15 minutes but leave the hot water taps open to purge out the air from the pipes.
• Turn on the manual switch or the gas control knob and ensure that the water heater is working correctly.

Conclusion

The above procedure will manage the problem of a smelly water heater anode as well as the tank. Since you still have the same water source, repeat the sanitization process with the hydrogen peroxide whenever you smell a hint of a foul smell in your hot water. However, you can also replace the water heater with one that has a plastic lining in the water tank or a stainless steel tank. There is a more costly solution, which involves the use of a tank-less heater. These solutions will completely remove the odor from the heater.

Calcium Buildup in Hot Water Heater

Calcium build up in hot water heater system is generally due to a mineral found in water called calcium carbonate. When this mineral precipitates out, it settles in the bottom of the tank. The water heater is designed in a way that it cannot control the sediments on its own. The dip tube which is the inlet of the cold water is usually straight on a majority of water heaters that are made today. This means that when the water strikes the bottom of the tank, it makes the sediment to settle uniformly on the bottom of the tank rather than making it gravitate to the drain pipe.

Disadvantages of the Calcium Precipitating

One of the major disadvantage of calcium build up in hot water heaters is the formation a layer of insulation in the middle of the water and the gas burner. This sediment usually slow heat transfer thus causing the bottom of the tank to overheat. This overheating causes the steel to weaken damaging the glass lining. This can consequently reduce the ‘lifespan’ of the tank. In the case of the electrics, it buries the lower element, triggering it to burn out.

It also lowers the ability of the tank to conserve energy and creates good environment for the growth of corrosive anaerobic bacteria. The sediments can also pass in the re-circulation lines, blocking the open check valves, causing the electric pump to stick till it burns out. Calcium build up can also clog the drain valve, preventing any water to flow and also cause the tank to produce some noise, which can sometimes be too loud and annoying.

How Does Calcium Buildup Happen?

Calcium carbonate is generally found in all treated water at room temperature. When water is stored in a tank and heated with a continuous flame, this mineral compound usually filter out and form hard particles at the bottom of the heater. Although calcium carbonate may not be harmful to humans, this buildup blocks the transfer of heat. The layer that usually builds up at the bottom of your heater makes the heater consume double the energy to get water to the required temperature.

The Solution to Calcium Build Up

Use of water softeners is one major solution to calcium buildup. When using these softeners, it is vital to check the sacrificial anode regularly, since these softeners can lead to the decrease of these sacrificial anode causing the heater to rust.

Flushing the hot water heater at least twice a year is another way to control this sedimentation. This flushing involves the draining of the heater to allow the removal of all the particles floating on the tank.

Calcium build up in hot water heater lowers the ability of your tank to conserve heat, and can also lead to growth of harmful bacteria’s. This can be avoided by flushing your tank at least two times per year and by using water softeners.

Gas Hot Water Heater Keeps Shutting Off

There are few things more frustrating than going to take a shower and only having cold water come from the shower head. Not many people will grin and bear it and suffer through a cold shower, instead most will head straight to the hot water heater to figure out what the problem is. While it is rare that a hot water heater will shut off without reason, if it continually happens then there is probably a problem that you will need to address. You can either try to fix the problem yourself or call for service, but it’s a good idea to know what’s going on before you reach out for help. Most people know to check the gas valve and make sure that it’s open and working the right way before they panic about something big being wrong, but if the valve is working fine you will need to look at some other problem areas.

Combustion Chamber Overheating

When the combustion chamber overheats your hot water heater will shut off to avoid any problems. The thermal sensor will trip at a high enough temperature to save the unit and your house from a fire. Most electric and gas machines have this sort of safety built in to them to keep there from being a big issue down the road if the chamber doesn’t cool back down. This can be caused by a number of reasons, such as a clogged air intake.

Blocked Vent

Another thing to look for is a blocked vent to the outside of your house, especially in spring when birds are building nests. While a nest is more rare, it is still a possibility and something you want to look into before calling experts. If this is the case it is a simple matter of removing the nest and possible installing some sort of grate over the vent so that the birds can’t come back and try to build again.

T Couple Failure

One last problem may be that your t couple has failed or is about to fail. This problem is one that you are unlikely to be able to fix yourself or possibly even diagnose, so if you get to this point it is wise to call an expert.

There are a number of reasons that your gas water heater keeps shutting off. You can continue to light the pilot to have access to hot water, but taking care of the issue is the only way to resolve it and make the unit 100% safe.

Hot Water Heater Amperage

Every electrical appliance has its own preset requirements. Even electronic appliances or what we refer to as consumer electronics have their power requirements. Water heater, air conditioner, washing machine or dryer, dishwasher and refrigerator are large electrical appliances. All these devices have specific power requirements. When you check these appliances, you would find the wattage and voltage specifications mentioned on the label. You also need to know the amperage.

What’s on the Labels

A typical label on a water heater will perhaps tell you that it is a 5000W appliance running on 220-240V. This means the water heater will require an up to 240V power supply which is common in households and it will draw 5000W of electricity. Now, this means two things. One, you would have to ensure that a direct power line is dedicated for the appliance as sharing multiple appliances will interfere with the voltage. Two, you need to know the hot water heater amperage to determine the wiring so it doesn’t trip the circuit breaker by drawing more electricity per second. Drawing less is not an issue but drawing more will have the potential to cause a fire and hence circuit breakers are unavoidable.

What Type of Amperage Do You Need?

The higher you go on scales of voltage and wattage, the higher amperage you would need. A 5000W water heater will obviously need a different kind of wiring and circuit compared to a 100W device. The circuit needs appropriate breaker, electrical connectors and compatible wire to facilitate the hot water heater amperage. You should always consult an electrician, the installation guy from the water heater company or someone who is accustomed with these technicalities. Trying to do it yourself may backfire if you are completely new. Hire an electrician.

For the purpose of specificity and to give you some information, here is how you can determine hot water heater amperage. Let us consider a water heater that requires a dedicated separate connection of 220V and will consume 4500W of electricity. The voltage range of the connection may be 240V, that wouldn’t affect your calculation. A general rule of thumb is to divide the wattage by the voltage to get the hot water heater amperage. So you should divide 4500W by 220V and you will get 20.45amp. You shouldn’t opt for that specific amperage. You should go for 25 amp wiring and circuit with perhaps a two pole circuit breaker. This is a generic take on hot water heater amperage and to give you an idea. The actual calculations will depend on the type of water heater, brand, specifications and your local building codes as well as any fire safety standards that may be applicable.

Tankless Gas Hot Water Heaters Pros and Cons

Tankless gas water heaters have an incredible immediate appeal. Instantaneous, endless hot water; as much as you want, whenever you want it. A more efficient approach to keeping your water hot, and a more economic solution than traditional tank-style water heaters.

It’s an attractive option. But just like any other major renovation, there are pros and cons to tankless gas water heaters. Are they right for you?

Cost

There’s no question that tankless gas hot water heaters are much more efficient than the alternatives; according to the U.S. Department of Energy, saving about $108 per year on your energy bill when compared to traditional tank water heaters, as well as $64 per year when compared to electric tankless heaters.

Pretty great, right? It most assuredly is. However, these savings are offset by a pretty substantial up-front cost; tankless water heaters can cost significantly more than traditional storage heaters, ranging from around $1,000 for a tankless electric, whole-house model, to three times as much for a gas-powered model, once you’ve paid for installation by a qualified plumber.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s also the minor issue that some homes aren’t ready to support tankless water heaters, and will require some renovation. If your home is currently running on an electricity-only utilities model, you may need to rewire your home, which means hiring a qualified electrician, and adding as much as $5,000 to the escalating cost of your renovations.

Other Benefits

With these costs, is a tankless water heater still worth it? Well, there’s also a suite of benefits beyond just the energy savings.

Some homeowners appreciate the space-saving, compact design. It’s generally understood that they last a great deal longer, often coming with 15-year warranties, as opposed to traditional water heaters, where a six-year warranty is weighing in on the longer side. Reliability also factors in; since they don’t store water, there’s no risk of a breakdown leading to flooding, no water on the floor and a suite of unwanted hassles.

Additionally, there’s an environmental impact – with no rusty tanks cluttering up landfills, they present an appealing green option.

Points to Consider

If you’re still not certain whether or not a tankless gas hot water heater is right for you, it’s worth considering whether you intend to heat a single bathroom, or your entire house. Electric models have a lower cost, but gas models have a higher efficiency – usually qualifying for federal tax rebates, as well as state-level incentives, due to their higher efficiency rating.

Whatever you decide to do, the dream of on-demand hot water is achievable; it just takes some careful planning to get there.

Hot Water Heater Leaking From Top Seam

Flexible water supply connections are the major source of water leaks on top of a hot water tank. It is therefore vital to check if the leak is originating from the threaded inlet and outlet connections on top of the tank. A leak may easily form if the fittings are loose or the threads are not taped properly. The anode rod, which is usually threaded into the top of the tank commonly leak around the thread. This anode rod normally helps in prevent corrosion.

A malfunctioning pressure relief valve can also release water when the pressure or temperature in the tank surpasses the regulated levels. In case your hot water heater is leaking from the top seam, the leak may be easier to repair if it is discovered on time. However, if not fixed on time, the leak can lead to a more serious and expensive damage. While a leak from the seam may seem common, it can be difficult to establish the exact point of the leak. Here are some major causes that can occur when water leaks from the top seam.

1. Loose Pipes Fittings

Both the inlet and outlet fittings should be checked to see whether there is a leakage. In case there are loose connection, or the leak is coming from one of the connection points, it is important to tighten it. Some fittings also gets corroded; in such case, the fittings should be replaced and if the leakage continues, it could be an indicator of a more serious problem with the tank.

2. Temperature and the Pressure Valve

The temperature valve and the pressure relief valve are usually located either on the side of the tank or at the top. It is important to check closely to confirm if there is any leakage on the valves. If there is as leakage, especially from the threads, simply remove the valve. This will help you determine if this is the problem and if this is the case, you may be required to replace the T/P valve.

3. Defective Water Inlet Valve

Presence of water on top of your water heater is an indication of a leak on either the outlet or the inlet pipe. Check the cold water inlet pipe first, and turn off the water flowing to your water heater, using an in-line valve or a gate valve. If there is dripping, it can be rectified by tightening the nuts that connects the handle. If the problem persists, it may be a sign that the valve is damaged and needs to be replaced.

When your hot water system begins to leak from the top seam it is important to quickly fix the problem since this water can drain down and cause electrical problem. It can also cause property damage like your carpet and the lower part of your walls leading to mold growth.

Relighting Hot Water Heater Pilot Light

If you’ve just started running your bath and find the water cold, you may have come to the conclusion that your water heater pilot light may have gone out. And you’re probably right. But before you hop down there to stare at your water heater, it’s best knowing first how to do it and why it may have went out in the first place. While you could always call someone to help you or ring up your mom or dad, sometimes it’s best just to strap on your boots, find a flash light, look up a good tutorial online and do it yourself. Becoming more independent with caring for your house is one of the many steps to becoming more mature. Now, take back your freedom and get ready to draw up a hot bath!

What Causes the Pilot Light to Go Out?

There isn’t one answer, but what’s usually the problem has to do with the thermocouple. This device has two wire ends that meet, and it’s used to measure the temperature of the water. In some instances, your pilot light might just be going out due to the thermocouple being dirty. If this is the case, then the simple fix is turning the pilot light off and taking a simple piece of sandpaper to clean the thermocopulle gently. That might do the fix. Another reason your pilot light might be going out could be due to the thermocouple being bent or damaged. If the thermocopule is simply bent, then all you have to do is turn off the pilot light and bend it to where it’s closer to the pilot light. However if it’s damaged then you’ll be forced to replace it.

Something to keep in mind is to always go with safety first. Don’t try to relight your water heater if you smell gas. If you smell gas it could mean there’s a gas leak. Make sure you leave the house and dial appropriate services, like 911.

Locate the Gas

You won’t need much if any tools at all to relight your pilot light. Just a good sense of knowing what you’re doing and probably a flash light and barbecue lighter will do the trick. The first thing you’ll need to do is locate the gas regulator. Nine times out of ten, there will be a knob which is the gas regulator, usually located just on the outside of the gas pipe, which connects to water heater. Flash around your light for assistance if your stuck in the dark.

Find the knob and put it in the “off” position, then give it five minutes before proceeding. Then under the water heater, find the pilot burner. Move any thing that might be blocking you from seeing it.

Lighting the Pilot Light

Finally locate the gas regulator and put in the “pilot” position while holding it down. On some models you’ll find an already built in, piezo electric pilot igniter. If your model doesn’t come with this feature than get out that barbecue lighter and hover the end over the burner and ignite it. Afterwards you’ll have to hold down the knob for the regulator valve for at least one minute. Doing this will allow the thermocouple to heat up. Let up on the regulator valve. If you release the knob and the flame stays lit, turn the switch from “off” to “on”. If all goes well, you should hear a sound similar to a woosh. That should let you know, you did it successfully.

Whenever approaching house hold repairs and fix it’s always be cautious. Being smart and finding resources online that aid in letting you in on info you might have not known before is always great a great idea to keep your pocket money from being stolen by a simple fix, toted as a complicated job. If you are going to be looking for services to jobs similar to lighting a pilot light, like pipe fixes, simple jobs or even complex tasks, make sure you take into account who you’re hiring! Using online review sites that let you look at the locals are great for ensuring you and your family are in best hands!

If you’re going to tackle a project by yourself, make sure you do plenty of research. Don’t ever go into a project if you’re unsure of how to fix the problem. You risk getting hurt or making the problem bigger! Before starting a project be safe, have emergency kits ready. You may not need an emergency kit when it comes to simply relighting a pilot light, but if you’re going to be playing with electricity, fire or anything else there’s really no such thing as too safe.

With all that in mind you’re ready for getting back that hot water! Don’t let your basement scare you into cold showers!